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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Iceland 2016: Vatnajokull National Park and Jökulsárlón

Talk to anyone in America about a trip to Iceland, and the assumption nearly everyone makes is that Iceland's a small country and it wouldn't take a day to drive around it. In reality, of course, that's impossible: like many island countries, Iceland doesn't actually have that many roads, and the ring road around the country is a 2 lane highway with a maximum speed limit of 90kph. Couple that with potentially poor weather, slow RVs sharing the road with you, and long distances between population centers, and you have a recipe for very long road trips of the type I don't enjoy at all: lots of driving between destinations with little change in scenery in between.
Google had projected a 6 hour drive for us that day, but I had 2 main destinations in mind: Vatnajokull National Park and Jokulsarlon. We arrived at Vatnajokull National Park just in time to see the sign for a ranger guided hike that would take place right after lunch.

The guided hike was informative, and took us all the way to where the glacier was 15 years ago, showing us how quickly the glacier had retreated over the years. We got close enough to see the water coming off the melting glacier, but couldn't actually touch it.

The kids fell asleep while driving to Jokulsarlon, but that's a pretty impressive lake with ice floes floating and cracking along on it. It was very exciting and a lot of fun.
Past Jokulsarlon, the road actually became fun and pretty, with tunnels and many things to see, but no place to stop to take pictures! At Djupivogur, we stopped for an early dinner before arriving at our AirBnB farm stay down a dirt road that was actually part of the ring road!

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